Posted 14th June
Nearly five dogs are kidnapped every day, disturbing statistics from Direct Line Pet Insurance have revealed
The analysis of thefts reported to UK police forces found there had been a 19 per cent increase in the number of dogs stolen in 2016, compared to the 2014 figure, where 1,491 thefts were reported.
The police forces which faced the highest number of reported dog thefts last year were the Metropolitan Police (231), West Yorkshire Police (208) and Greater Manchester Police (168). The forces with the lowest number of reported dog thefts were North Wales Police (0), Northampton Police (9) and Surrey Police (11).
|Police force||Dogs reported stolen, 2016||Proportion of stolen dogs recovered, 2016||Changes in stolen dogs, 2014-2016|
|Metropolitan Police Service||231||12%||+5%|
|West Yorkshire Police||208||18%||+89%|
|Greater Manchester Police||168||22%||+31%|
|South Yorkshire Police||96||31%||+35%|
|Thames Valley Police||75||0%||-7%|
|Devon and Cornwall Constabulary||69||39%||+306%|
|Warwickshire & West Mercia Police||69||43%||+41%|
Hope is not lost for all stolen dogs, however, as some owners were lucky enough to be reunited with their pets, either after they had been abandoned by thieves, or were safely returned by the police.
Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire Police returned the most dogs to their owners in 2016 (37 each) which was closely followed by Warwickshire and West Mercia Police and South Yorkshire Police (both 30).
Additional research from the insurer revealed the number of dogs stolen is significantly higher than the amount of cases reported to the police. 1.5 million adults (three per cent) have said they had a dog stolen from their care in the last five years.
Of these, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) had their pet stolen from their garden, while 11 per cent said their dog was taken from their home, and a further 11 per cent said it happened whilst out on a walk.
Nearly a quarter of dog owners (22 per cent) will never let their dog off the lead to limit the likelihood of this happening, while 18 per cent have said they never let their dog out of their sight. Two fifths of dog owners (41 per cent) have claimed they do not take any measures to protect their pet from theft, instead preferring them to have the freedom to roam around.
Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line, said: "Having your dog stolen is extremely distressing, especially when it happens from within your own home. Simple measures like locking doors and keeping the property secured will help deter thieves. Pedigree dog owners should be particularly vigilant as these dogs can often fetch thousands of pounds and have certain characteristics to make it easier for thieves to spot them. If the worst was to happen, owners should make sure they report it to the police immediately and spread the word within their local community."
|Breed||Number stolen 2016/17||Share of all breeds stolen, 2014-16|
|Staffordshire Bull Terrier||634||42%|
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was the most stolen breed of dog over the last three years, while 634 thefts were reported to police forces across the country between 2014 and 2016. Chihuahuas were the second most stolen dog breed (143), closely followed by Jack Russell Terriers (111).
There has been a sharp increase in the amount of French Bulldogs stolen over the past three years, which has risen from eight in 2014 to stand at 24 in 2016.
Figures courtesy of Direct Line Pet Insurance / image courtesy of Pixabay